the acknowledgement.....

'LIFE'S JUST A HANDFUL OF SHORT STORIES PRETENDING TO BE A NOVEL'......

JUNE 2003,LABOUR-BEAUREAU BUS STOP,TATANAGAR...

It had been a typically hot and humid day.....
slowly the weather had seemed to relent and the bus-stop which had nobody but a pariah dog as its sole occupant not too long ago was again teeming with passengers.....mostly children 4m a nearby school eager to go home,their chit-chatting bringing the place back to life.......
some office-returnees,some college students and some auto-drivers eager 2 poach on the impatience of people waiting for the city bus completed the picture.....

A small distance away stood two 14 year-olds from the same school ...

Bags on their shoulders,they had been joking around 2 bide their time while waiting for the bus...one was a fat,plump,rolly-polly sumo called Ravi and the other was a lean and lanky fellow with cherubish looks,his looks being ample justification for his nickname 'GOLU'....

"hey!!look out....isn't she too young to cross the road all by herself??"....Golu pointed out to a silhouette in the distance..
"who??"....Ravi strained his eyes and saw a nervous,little girl trying to cross the road....
And even though she was a good distance away,her face gave away an expression bordering on fear,courtesy,the unrelenting traffic...

"should we help her out??"wondered the two....
And as very often happens in the case of adolescent young minds,before they could decide,the event was all over...
The girl finally suceeded in crossing the road after much toil...The two kept looking at her,as she came towards them...she turned back every now and then with
expectant hope on her face,only to meet with disappointment.....

she was about 7-8 yrs in age..with a MICKEY schoolbag over her shoulders and a water-bottle dangling over her neck,she looked kinda cute in her school uniform...
Her face had streaks of dried tears....clearly,she had been crying.
she stopped near them and gave them an expectant look which soon metamorphosed into a stare...
probably she was trying to find similarities,considering the way she first looked at their uniform and then hers..

The duo finally decided 2 talk 2 her..."whats your name chhutki??"Ravi asked...the question proved 2 be the releiver of all pent-up emotions which her face had so clearly betrayed....fresh streaks of tears flowed on her cheeks accompanied with sobs.....As Ravi wondered what wrong he had done,Golu sprang into action,handed over her bag and water-bottle to Ravi,took her in his lap and tried to calm her down...A WARM TIGHT HUG DID THE TRICK...
she felt very secure in Golu's lap and she got busy trying to unwrap the candy Ravi had offered her...
As the two wondered "what next??" they could sense curious stares directed at them...

"bhaiyya!!mere VAN-UNCLE aaj mujhe lene nahi aaye"her voice had a hint of complaint which children show only in front of people they are comfortable with...
she was finally opening up...the reason for her tears was now evident...
How Golu wished he could shoot that vanwallah who had brought tears to that little angel...!!

"we are taking her home"Ravi said in a decisive tone...."yours or mine??"asked Golu...."arey dumbo!!her home"..
the gravity of the situation struck Ravi only after he had uttered those words...
two 14 year olds with a little girl who had forgotten even her address out of nervousness...yes!!all she could remember of her address was HARIOM APARTMENTS,nothing before,nothing after...the situation was indeed grave..
"her school prospectus!!that would have her address"Ravi said.....'DISHA SINGH,D/O PRATAP SINGH,hariom apartments,south park'-the prospectus read...

"yipee!!she can go with you..'golu bhaiyya'lives in south park..doesn't he??..HAHAHA"...ravi seemed releived as well as amused...

"yes!I do"golu said..responsibility can certainly come with its share of worries as golu was now discovering to his dismay..what if he wasn't able 2 locate her house??
what if the 'south park' mentioned in the prospectus turned out to be a totally different locality?? or worse still,what if her parents accused him of kidnap??numerous questions flooded his mind only to be answered by a honk,that of the approaching city bus..A QUICK DECISION WAS REQUIRED..he looked at her and she looked back with the sweetest smile he had ever seen...the smile proved enough to wash away all self-doubts..he decided he couldn't leave that angel there.

once inside the bus,he had to make sure she got to sit..looking for familiar faces,he was pleasantly surprised to see his younger sister seated...having explained the entire situation to her,he asked her to take Disha in her lap..her sister had amazement writ large over her face..never had she seen this aspect of him..
With a bemused look on her face,she tried to take Disha in her lap only to meet with resistance.."bhaiyya"she cried and clung even more tightly to Golu...that clinging evoked a strange feeling in him..she had reimposed her faith in him and suddenly the responsibility no longer seemed a burden..THE BOND HAD BEEN BUILT...

A bit of cajoling and disha was in his sister's lap..the rest of the journey passed away smoothly with Disha turning back to look at him occasionally...his mere presence seemed to reassure her....

when the bus stopped,he asked his sister to take her down with her,with him to follow later...probably he wanted to escape questions 4m people who might have known him...
standing behind a stream of people in the bus he could see his sister alight 4m the bus..no sooner did she alight when she was mobbed by a lady and a gentleman..
disha let out a shriek which oozed excitement..papa and mummy..at last she was with them..showered by kisses 4m the lady,she looked confused initially only to begin with her complaints of the vanwallah later..
while the mother-daughter duo got busy,the gentleman thanked the sister with folded hands..he looked grateful..the sister turned back to give Golu a glance wanting to tell them that it wasn't her but her brother who was to be thanked..bt smhow,she couldn't as Golu watched from inside the bus.

Golu Watched the happy family walk away with mixed feelings...happy that he had done smthng responsible but smwhr wishing he had got some credit!!...
A goodbye smile 4m the angel wouldn't have been bad either...
not entirely unexpected of a 14 year old!!...but that was not to be...

his mom and dad were very proud when they heard of it...but the fact that his act wasn't even acknowledged did seem 2 be an issue then...days passed but the incident remained etched in his memory..the angelic smile,that warm hug....it was his 1st brush with responsibility....

JULY 2010,TATANAGAR JUNCTION

I was going back to college after a short vacation back home...waiting for father while he was away for platform tickets,I was getting bored..
I looked towards the counter only to see dad chatting with a middle-aged gentleman,who looked vaguely familiar...seeing them come towards me I prepared myself for the usual conversation my dad's friends had with me.."aur doctor sahab??"...
"bade change ho gaye ho pune jakar??"...
"kabhi sonu/monu/tonu ko bhi kuch tips de dena bete"

papa started"beta!!yeh Pratap uncle hain!!"...pleasantries exchanged,now it was uncle's turn"bete!!aapko disha yaad hai??"...
"dishaaa...??" schoolfrnd/collegemate/she-frnd/grlfrnd??....a quick scan of the categories revealed i knew nobody called Disha...

papa continued "remember the girl u once brought back 2 south park??"...
FLASHBACK...
"yes!!"I said,my excitement palpable.."he's her dad"...no wonder he looked familiar...
"wow!!which class has she reached uncle??"...
"DISHA'S now passed her 10th boards...maybe u can meet ur little sister the next time u are back...she was probably too young to thank you then but now that we've told her about you...she's thankful and wishes to meet u someday"
Apparently,disha's dad had come to meet papa with sm1 else when he recognised my sis as the girl who hd brought disha back...and yes...this time my sis spoke of me..

WOW..an acknowledgement!!...but now i realise it was plain adolescent behaviour back then...the fact that her family remembered me is enough 4 me now...and at times,my mom and sis still refer to her as my youngest sister...

As i boarded the train,a smile played on my lips....
didn't sm1 say smday??-LIFE'S JUST A HANDFUL OF SHORT STORIES PRETENDING TO BE A NOVEL..

P.S-no wonder,I love TRAINS....and Ravi...if u ever read this u'd be glad to know that u are remembered as the 'motewale bhaiyya'...lol

Comments

Post a Comment

bol de...bol de...sochta hai kya??...hum agar hote toh bol diya hota ;)

Popular posts from this blog

Doctors~Reel,real and everything in between

Q and A...

ANAND and me....